The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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“Sir, Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks will both be homeward bound soon. I have a dispatch from them, they will be home soon, and once home, they are in desperate need of some time off,” Violet said as she watched Bucky drink his coffee.

“See that they get it,” Bucky replied in between sips.

“There is going to be the very public trial in the Shetlands for the war criminals. The very, very public trials. Vice Governor Wrecker sends a personal note of thanks for your assistance and hopes that Equestria can endure the coming firestorm.” Violet paused and let out a faint whinny of concern, re-read the missive, shook her head, and then looked up at Bucky. “Sir, this could cause rioting and all manner of unpleasantness. Do we wish to rile what little bit of calm we have? This is horrific.”

“We do.” Bucky’s voice was a dull monotone. “The public has a right to know and I made a promise. The world needs to hear what happens to slaves in mercury mines. Slavery period. Our future will not be built upon the backs of others.”

“Sir… this will set us against one another… this will rile up ill will against minotaurs, diamond dogs, griffons, and… and…” Violet’s voice faded out into a saddened gasp.

“Unicorns?” Bucky asked.

Violet nodded.

“Mistakes must be acknowledged and these criminals must be made to answer. The world needs to know of this horror. Look, I made a promise to Lord Wrecker that I would see this through. The world needs to know. I will not go back on my word… and we will have endure whatever backlash comes from this. If we worry about how this will set off the citizenry, we rob the victims of their voice.”

“But sir… while I agree with you in principle, the public is still raw from a number of incidents that have recently happened and I have some concern—”

“Violet, would you rob Sukari of her voice? She is branded… she was a slave. Who knows what manner of horror she endured?” Bucky asked.

“Sir, I understand why this is important to you. I will say no more,” Violet replied. She flipped a page forward on her organiser. “Princess Celestia will be doing more than attending the big science fair, she plans to bring along the press and she wants to showcase Equestria’s bright future.”

“Oh bugger.” Bucky closed his eyes.

“She expects great things from the Founder’s Forge.” Violet snapped her organiser shut. “One final issue that needs to be discussed and it comes from Mayor Mare. It concerns your wife, Thistle.”

“Eh?” Bucky felt a hot blush creeping up his neck as Thistle’s name was mentioned. He opened his eyes and looked at Violet.

“Crystal Brook approaches the age of retirement. She is the purity inspector for Ponyville’s drinking water. She is old and she can’t move around as well as she used to. She fears she can’t do her job effectively anymore. Mayor Mare would like Thistle to take over. Thistle would be responsible for inspecting the reservoir at the Ponyville hydroelectric dam, a number of water towers, and the water purification plant. Thistle doesn’t need to know how stuff works, she will have helpers and assistants for all of that, Mayor Mare just wants to make certain that the water is pure and Thistle could help towards that end.”

“Hmm, Thistle was talking to Bon Bon about some sort of job… this is something that Thistle is uniquely suited for.” Bucky gave a slow nod of his head. “I’ll talk to her.”

 

 

“Auntie Disco!” Harper looked up at her tall auntie and bounced a few times, trying to get Discord’s attention. After what seemed like forever, Harper felt herself snatched up and hugged.

“Harpy… one of my most favourite ponies!” Discord squeezed the foal and then kissed her on the cheek. “Now where are the rest of my nieces… Sukari, Peekaboo, Cadance, where is my little pretty pink princess?”

“Cadance is getting a bath,” Belisama said to Discord. “She decided that she was going to stick her face into a bowl of applesauce and feed herself.”

“Sounds like fun.” Discord grinned, set Harper down, and scooped up Sukari, who began to giggle as Discord tickled her. “Applesauce snorkeling. Sounds like an Apple family sport.”

Harper, disappointed, huffed out a pouty sigh and her mane sagged a bit as she felt rejected.

“Fluttershy, how are you?” Belisama asked.

“Oh, I am well… where is Bucky? The poor dear is becoming a little draconic and he needs to learn how to calm down and I am supposed to teach him how to be like me,” Fluttershy replied as she hugged Peekaboo.

“Did someone say my name?” Bucky asked as he came into the living room.

“Hmm… Buckminster… chaos looks good on you.” Discord let slip a maniacal giggle as he looked at Bucky. He set Sukari down upon the floor and then hovered in the air, ignoring gravity. He glanced over at Fluttershy and then back at Bucky. “Dearest Flutters, there is a pony in need of your calm.”

“Oh I know.” Fluttershy, also floating without flapping her now mismatched wings, glanced at Bucky and blinked her yellow and red eyes. “How are you feeling? Twilight told me you are having some tummy trouble as you go through the changes… have you started feeling less stress? I’ve been worried about you.”

“You know what would make me calmer?” Bucky asked, a faint chuckle lurking within his voice. “Knowing what Peekaboo’s cutie mark is. It is driving me crazy.”

Discord threw back his head and laughed. After a few moments of crazed howling, he wiped his eye and looked at Bucky. “Yeah, like I could possibly explain what an interdimensional protrusion bubble and the associated warped reality rift would look like to you.” Discord sighed and shook his head.

Scowling, Bucky glared at Discord, and then after a moment, his scowl melted away into a grin. “Make yourselves at home, both of you. Fluttershy, I can be with you in just a little while. I was just having Violet hammer out a proposal of mine and I need to finish that up.”

Seeing Harper’s mane with an alarming looking sag, Discord peered down at the broken hearted foal. The sagging mane was a worrisome sign, one that Discord knew too well. Reaching down, he picked up Harper once more, kissed her cheek, and gave her a hug.

There was an audible -twang!- as Harper’s mane bounced back to its usual frizziness.

 

 

“Not every great unicorn starts out as an immediate success,” Daylight Shadow said as he summoned a breeze to clear the smoke from the air. “Even Star Swirl the Bearded had spells go wrong… spectacularly wrong!”

Heaving a dejected sigh, Sweetie Belle wondered how she was going to get a passing grade in basic magical applications as her instructor worked to extinguish the flames. There were foals in this class much younger than she was that had better magical control.

“Hey, don’t give up,” a unicorn filly with braces on her teeth said in a somewhat slurpy voice. She prodded Sweetie Belle. “My name is Firelock and we have study hall together. I stink at magic too… maybe we can help each other?”

Turning to look at the unicorn beside her, Sweetie Belle hesitated to reply, but after a moment, she gave a nod.

“I had to wear a magic inhibitor to keep from burning everything around me. Now I have learned to hold back… but casting spells or even using telekinesis is hard for me.” Firelock smiled at Sweetie Belle. “Sunset Shimmer has been helping me, she can help you too.”

Hearing the exchange of the two fillies, Daylight Shadow heaved an internal sigh of relief but also felt a creeping sense of panic. The two most dangerous students in his class were making friends with one another. He hoped that good things would come of this, but worried about the mishaps that were certain to happen along the way.

“Okay class… while we have a little bit of time left, we’re going to talk about telekinetic shields once more. It is just like using telekinesis to push something, but you make a bubble all around you to push things away. Some of you have shown great promise… those of you that can, try to raise a shield up and then there will be practical demonstrations…”

 

 

His eyes closed, Bucky tried to clear his mind. This was easier said than done, the moment he shoved out one set of thoughts, others rushed in to replace them. He needed to make more golems. He needed to address the worrisome reports that some guns were still functioning even with the gunpowder golems now gaining a civilisation-wide reach. Thistle was a dirty, dirty filly… Bucky thought of how she had looked up at him, her lips tight around him, and the playful look in her eyes as she took more of him in.

That had to go too, Bucky shoved it out of his mind with a pang of regret.

“Breathe deep and think of calm, serene thoughts. Fluffy kittens. Baby chicks. Sweet, fluffy, cuddly little puppies. Newborn foals.”

The sound of Fluttershy’s voice made Bucky feel sort of sleepy in strange way.

“The cushion you are sitting on is an island. Your own personal island, just for you. Because you are special and you deserve it. And while you are on this island, the troubles of the world can’t reach you. This is your special place… now try to push all of your worries out of your mind and let yourself drift away. Think of Derpy and how happy she makes you. Now think of Derpy’s bubbles… imagine that all of your worries, all of your troubles are bubbles and let them float away.”

Derpy’s bubbles were a great place to get a grip while he… Bucky forced himself to stop thinking about it and tried to think of something else. He felt his breathing quicken. As he tried to avoid feeling aroused, his stomach lurched and he felt the pressure building.

“Maybe you can think about your foals, your sweet, sweet little foals, each of them adorable, precious, and special in their own way. As you push your troubles out of your mind, try to think of your foals and what makes each of them special to you in some way. Breath deep, and as you breathe out, try to push your worries out with your bad air. Breathe in, think of sweet little Bell Heather, and now breathe out, pushing away all of your bad thoughts, leaving you with a feeling of peace…”

Fluttershy’s voice was a hypnotic drone and Bucky could actually feel the world drifting away from him. He thought of Bell Heather. Bell Heather was soft, warm, and fuzzy. She smelled like mother’s milk and hypoallergenic foal shampoo. Bell Heather called him ‘daddoo’ and had a voice almost like her mother’s. The weight of the world seemed to have vanished.

“Oh my… some-whatever-you-are-now must be very relaxed…”

Bucky opened his eyes. Looking down, he saw the floor beneath him. He hung there for a moment, suspended, and thought of gravity. As he did so, he came straight down and smashed into the floor snoot first. His hind half landed on the cushion he had been sitting on. He lay there, groaning, and wondered what had just happened. Thinking of gravity had been a mistake.

Hovering closer, Fluttershy scooped up Bucky, sat him up, and got him settled upon his cushion once more. Reaching out with her paw, she rubbed Bucky on the snoot. “We all have a touch of chaos in us. It is what allows us to serve our individual purpose, at least, that is what Discord says. This tiny spark of chaos is what makes the impossible possible. It allows pegasi and dragons to fly on impossible wings. It makes magic function. It allows us to love one another and forget the mistakes that others make that hurts us by making our memories less than perfect. It allows us to make self discoveries.” Fluttershy leaned her head down and kissed Bucky on his nasal bridge. “Does that feel better?”

Feeling rather foalish, Bucky nodded and looked into Fluttershy’s eyes. She had changed. The red and yellow eyes that stared back at him were filled with manic kindness, love, and understanding.

But one thing was missing from Fluttershy’s eyes.

Fear.

 

 

 

 

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